Manchester United Women manager Casey Stoney believes the women’s game cannot yet justify equal pay with men.
The Football Association announced this week that England’s senior men and women players had been paid the same match fees and bonuses since January this year.
Stoney, whose side launch their 2020/21 campaign at home against champions Chelsea on Sunday, welcomed the news, but claims the women’s game is not ready to demand equal pay across the board.
“It’s a positive move,” Stoney said. “I’m a realist in terms of equality. I think you get paid the same when you bring in the same revenue.
“Women players want the same opportunities, we want the same resources and it’s a great move from the FA.
“I think until we get more people in the stands, more revenue coming in, more commercial money coming in, then we can start talking about equal pay.”
When asked if female players should be getting closer to the pay of their male counterparts, Stoney replied: “No.
“You look at some of the salaries in the men’s game, your talking £100,000 or £200,000 a week.
“How can the women’s game justify that when we get 3,000-5,000 people in the stands?
“We need to invest more money in our marketing. Get more people in the ground, making sure the game is more visible.
“We need to get more commercial revenue back in before we start talking about paying players more towards the equivalent of the men.”
“I’m speaking for myself probably, if I’m honest,” she said. “That’s my view having been in the game at the top level for a long time and growing up in the game.
“We used to pay to play and having been part of teams that have completely collapsed because of lack of financial security. It’s very much a personal view, but I think it’s a realistic view.”
Stoney’s side, who finished fourth in their first season in the Women’s Super League, will aim to close the gap on the top three of Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal in the new campaign.
“That’s without doubt,” she added. “If you look at the quality that has come in from across the world, from Europe, America, Australia.
“The players who want to come and play here now, it’s probably Covid-19-related, but if it means the league is competitive, probably the most competitive ever, it’s great for women’s football in this country.”